A recent research study determined that feeding Comfort™ in the late finishing phase to Akaushi crossbred cattle under intense heat stress in Texas improved average daily gain, feed intake and intramuscular fat accrual. Comfort is Ralco’s natural everyday feed additive containing a custom blend of Microfused® essential oils and capsicum for targeted support and animal comfort during times of environmental challenge.
“Performance losses in the summer are often contributed to reduced feed intake in cattle but that’s really only half the story,” said Dr. Bill Holloway, Senior Beef Nutritionist for Ralco. “The internal, physiological stress ruminants experience during heat stress can account for 50% or more of production losses. These non-intake related losses include leaky gut, oxidative stress, glucose and insulin irregularities, inflammation, metabolic changes and immune system activation.”
Heat stress is estimated to cost the United States beef industry an average of $370 million each year and the dairy industry $897 million.
“Ruminants do not effectively dissipate their heat load,” said Dr. Hebbie Purvis, Senior Beef Nutritionist for Ralco. “Even with good management practices like shade, misters, ventilation, etc., sometimes it’s not enough. We formulated Comfort to help beef and dairy producers maintain feed intake and overcome the internal physiological responses that impact profits.”
“What better place to test a heat stress product than West Texas in the summer?” said Dr. Holloway. To validate Comfort in a commercial setting in high heat conditions, Ralco partnered with the Texas A&M University.
The study was conducted at the West Texas A&M University Research Feedlot (WTAMU) facility near Canyon, Texas. The average high temperature at the feed yard was 90°F, with highs of 105°F and night lows of 55°F. The average finished weight for the cattle was 1,392 lbs.
The results of the study showed that cattle receiving Comfort had significantly greater (0.26 lb./day) average daily gain. This 13.4% improvement in gain suggests the cattle were more efficient in feed conversion which was 12.1% greater for the Comfort supplemented cattle.
Carcass data revealed that the cattle graded well which was expected based off historic data observed in Akaushi cattle. However, there was a significant impact of Comfort on the percent prime. Because many of the cattle were on the cusp of grading USDA Prime, the 15% advantage for the cattle fed Comfort in marbling score translated to a 136% increase in percent grading USDA Prime.
“The observations in this study are consistent with other trials we’ve done that showed that the ingredients in Comfort improve the ruminant’s ability to cope with heat stress and reduce variation in feed intake,” said Holloway.
More than 20 years ago, Ralco pioneered the mainstream use of phytonutrients for animal health and nutrition. Comfort is NEXUS™ formulated with a patent-pending combination of phytonutrients including Microfused essential oils and encapsulated capsicum that are specifically chosen for their unique properties that support more efficient heat abatement in cattle.
“Using the NEXUS formulation approach, we were able to match up the precise properties needed to alleviate the physiological responses cattle endure under high heat conditions and trigger their natural cooling mechanisms called transient receptor potential (TRP) channels,” said Dr. Purvis. “This results in cattle that stay cooler, eat smaller more frequent meals and efficiently convert more nutrients to energy for better adipose deposition in meat.”
TRP channels constitute a large and diverse family of channel proteins that can serve as sensors allowing individual cells and organisms to detect changes in their environment such as heat. These channels trigger responses in the animal to compensate for heat such as panting, decrease in intake and sweating, making TRP channels extremely involved in the heat abatement process in cattle. The phytonutrients in Comfort help bind to and trigger TRP channels for more efficient cooling processes.
“Now beef producers can add a natural tool to their heat stress management plan that keeps cattle cooler and enhances performance in the heat,” concluded Dr. Holloway.
Comfort is compatible with micro mixers and available for direct on farm use. Learn more at https://www.ralcoagriculture.com/product-descriptions/Beef_Comfort
References 1. Lees AM, Sejian V, Wallage AL, et al. The Impact of Heat Load on Cattle. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(6):322. Published 2019 Jun 6. doi:10.3390/ani9060322
About Ralco Ralco is a third-generation family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 40 countries. Ralco is a leading global provider of natural solutions to maximize nutrient conversion in plants and animals. Learn more at https://ralcoagriculture.com/.